How to Translate the Speechless Other?

Main Article Content

István Berszán


My paper investigates literary approaches to fellow creatures who cannot talk. I will read Philip Gross’ collection of poems, entitled Deep Field (2011) – a lyrical story about his old father who has lost all his five languages in aphasia – in comparison with the poetic translation of animals and „lifeless” materials, performed by the same poet (The Water Table, winner of the T.S. Eliot Prize 2009; A Bright Acoustic, 2017) or by other experimenters like Craig Foster, the human protagonist in an Oscar winning documentary My Octopus Teacher (2021). Such experiments of getting in-between reveals translation as gesture-resonance in shared kinetic spaces with the Other. By the art of learning, poetic language ceases to be a conventional medium of symbolic exchange (alone), it becomes refined and very intensive gestures of attention that make possible inversions in the teaching process between teacher and student, human and animal or human and material environment. At the end I will draw conclusions concerning the possibilities of gesture translation beyond metaphoric reduction.

Published: Nov 14, 2022

Article Details

Translating Difference The other in Other Words